Unreal Tournament Hands-On

Infogrames was showing off its latest build of Unreal Tournament on the PS2, and we spent some time with the game.

Infogrames was showing off its most recent build of Unreal Tournament, the PC shooter that's making the transition to both the PS2 and the Dreamcast. While the Dreamcast version has an eight-player Internet mode, the PlayStation 2 version has cleaner graphics, a smoother frame rate, and the assault and domination modes that are missing from the Dreamcast version.

The PS2 version of Unreal Tournament looks awesome. The frame rate problem that plagued the build shown at E3 has been completely fixed, and the game simply zips. The backgrounds have all been resized for the PS2 version, but they are as detailed and clean as you'll find in a first-person shooter console game. The sound is in place, and it really does justice to the PC version.

One problem with the PS2 version is the poor control scheme, which is similar to the control scheme in the Dreamcast version. One analog stick lets you strafe left and right and look up and down, while the other lets you look left and right and walk forward and back. Why Infogrames thinks this control scheme is anything but trash is completely beyond me. The company certainly does know that console users are going to need a little help with their aim: Two features exclusive to the PS2's controls are the analog stick presses and the auto-aiming function. You can press the left analog stick button to center your view and the right analog stick button to point your view toward the nearest enemy. A combination of these two button presses should keep your targeting reticule aimed at something. The other feature is auto-aim - get enemies anywhere near your reticule and you'll shoot directly at them. This should make things interesting for snipers, who won't necessarily need a steady hand to destroy players with one shot.

The assault and domination modes play exactly like they do in the PC version. In the assault mode you infiltrate a base and complete a series of objectives, then you play again, this time defending the base. The domination mode simply has you and your team controlling a series of beacons that change colors depending on who last tagged that beacon. At the end of the time limit whoever had the most beacons the longest wins. These modes, along with standard deathmatch and capture the flag, really make the PS2 version of Unreal Tournament the choice for gamers not interested in Internet play. Unreal Tournament won't hit store shelves until the end of this year, but from the looks of things, it may be the best FPS in the first batch of PS2 games.

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